About one o’clock this morning, I came suddenly awake. My son had entered the bedroom, turned on a peripheral light and said, “Dad, do you know there are cows in the yard?” I’m not sure my Beloved did much more than roll over at the news, but I climbed out of bed.
Apparently, the dog (at the other side of the house) was barking while son and wife were upstairs lying in bed. When the dog continued to bark, son came down, let the dog out a back door and noticed other dark figures milling around in the moonlight.
ASIDE: I need to issue a disclaimer here. I did not capture the above picture with my camera-phone. First of all, it was dark. I know the cows from the neighbor’s pasture … wandering in our yard after midnight … are brown cows. However, I’m not entirely sure if this is the exact breed of brown cow I saw. (There are 800 cattle breeds worldwide! Who knew?) Though I’ve looked at those cattle numerous times, I’m pleading ignorance; in looking at them, I guess I haven’t really seen! Give me some slack please − I’m a city girl.
Back to the night’s exploits … being the curious type, both my son and I ventured outdoors. He had the forethought to carry a flashlight. The animals were gone from the backyard, so we followed around the north side where several were grazing contentedly. Since the grass was quite wet, I returned to the house and came out the front door, flipping on the porch light as I went. More brown cows. One passed by left to right on the front walkway just as I came out onto the porch!
Though the moon was out, we could mostly see bovine silhouettes across the yard. Of course they were enjoying themselves … our grass is longish (needs a mow) and since we’ve been blessed with rain almost everyday, the grass hasn’t been dry enough long enough to have the mowing done. So our yard represented something of a smorgasbord for the cattle … long, luscious, and as the saying goes, the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence! These animals had the opportunity to put that saying to the test!
Cow #1: Hey, Bessie, somebody forgot to close the pasture gate tonight.
Cow #2: Oh, Buttercup! I’ve been waiting all my life to get a mouthful of that grass across the street and down. Have you seen how that guy babies those blades?
Cow #1: What d’ya say we blow this joint? A little R & R (ruckus and rumination) before the sun comes up?
Cow #2: Let’s do it! Then, nodding to the other cattle in the field, Y’all comin’?
From the porch, I could tell there were cattle gathered around my raised bed garden. I couldn’t tell if they’d climbed into it, but I had a pretty good suspicion they were sniffing (perhaps consuming?) my strawberries. I was more concerned that they’d decimate the budding raspberry crop, but it was impossible to tell in the semi-darkness.
This morning, my Beloved was standing at the bedroom window peeking through the blinds when I awoke. I asked him what he was doing and he said he’d been watching the neighbor round up his cattle to return them to pasture. All tolled, there were about 25-30 head of cattle that had roamed through the night … enjoying greener pastures on the adjoining properties.
My Beloved planted some fifty trees around our property last fall, trees from three to twelve feet tall. One of the smaller ones (a maple) bit the dust in the rampage, being sheered off about a foot from the dirt. (I’m just glad it was just a single tree!) Previously, the grandkids drove the motorized mini-Jeep into an apple tree not long after it was planted last fall. We hoped it would recover over the Winter, but it’s the only tree that didn’t sprout leaves this Spring.
The neighbor to one side of us also suffered some tree damage to the junipers he’s been coaxing into a property border. The cattle seemed unperturbed about what plants are already set in the ground!
As for the strawberries? Hoof impressions deep in the muddy turf as well as uprooted strawberry plants are sufficient evidence that several cows climbed into the bed and rooted around. To my relief, the raspberries appear mostly undisturbed. These animals left behind their usual calling card, but failed to drop any fertilizer whatsoever into the garden bed … and I’m not picking up what they dropped in the yard for redistribution!
For me − the city girl, remember − such early morning hijinks are memorable adventures with which city-dwellers are unacquainted. How much they miss! (How much I missed during the many years we lived in town!) While this was an early start on my day as well as an unexpected bovine encounter, it was another reminder of how magnificent is our Creator’s world and how propitious (and sometimes hilarious) are his gifts of grace. I echo yesterday’s post: another lucky day!